Helping the Bereaved - FRIENDS

For most people, the effect of death in their lives lasts far past the funeral. Therefore, it is equally important to not only find the time to pay your respects, but to stay in touch with the bereaved afterwards as well.

It is very important to reassure the bereaved that no matter what, there are people who care about them and about the deceased. Remember this: "A simple hug or handshake will show them that you care; They'll appreciate a memory, if a short one you can share; But as much as any one thing you give a grieving friend, its your patient gift of listening he'll remember in the end."

Involvement with others is tough to accomplish, especially when you're running solo. Encourage your friends to become involved again but resist the temptation to become a match maker. Involve the bereaved person in life again by inviting them to share freely in yours.

Encouragement is based on honest belief in someone and must be communicated sincerely in both words and acts. True encouragement is more than just a pat-on-the-back with a handful of platitudes.

To assume that you can not make a difference is poor in judgement and lacking in foresight. The three most important things we have to give to each other are our time, our undivided attention and our unfailing love. The least important is our advise.

In order for the process of bereaving to successfully run its course, they must have confidence in that they can truly share the burden of grief and that they are not alone. They must be able to confide in their friends, and we must keep watch of ourselves that we always deserve such confidence.

As the sun's rays help heal the body, so friendship is a sunshine in the soul. Bereaved persons often feel isolated because friends are unsure of what to say. Try not to make a judgement or give advice unless asked, but know that learning to express ones emotions of grief is the key to healing.  - B.H. Conley

Most Of All, Just Listen